Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dems help reopen a NC Repub office




On October 16, a North Carolina headquarters of the Republican Party was firebombed , and an abhorrent threat was painted on its outside wall
As Democrats, we are starting this campaign to enable the Orange County, North Carolina Republican office to re-open as soon as possible.
Until an investigation is undertaken, we cannot know who did this or why. No matter the result, this is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs.
So, let's all pitch in , no matter what your party affiliation, in and get that office open again quickly.

Update 1

12 mins ago


Less than 40 mins after going public, we met our goal and then some! Thank you all for showing that Americans are thirsty for civility and decency, and that we love our democracy above all our differences.
If you came in order to make a donation, might we suggest contributing to a North Carolina classroom through DonorsChoose?

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Scott Walker Backers Defend Lead and Wisconsin’s Poisoned Politics




Scott Walker Backers Defend Lead and Wisconsin’s Poisoned Politics

10/16/2016 11:05 am ET | Updated 1 hour ago


Mary Bottari

Center for Media and Democracy/ALEC Exposed

This post is hosted on the Huffington Post’s Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, lead chips have replaced cheese curds as the tasty snack of choice.

At least that’s what one might think reviewing right-wing reaction to news revelations in the Guardian that Scott Walker may have secretly solicited $750,000 from Texas billionaire Harold Simmons. Simmons was the owner of numerous businesses including a lead pigment firm called NL Industries (formerly National Lead), which sold toxic paint and other products containing lead for decades.

The contributions, deposited into the coffers of dark money group Wisconsin Club for Growth, were followed by a sneaky (and unconstitutional) change to the law that attempted to retroactively nullify lawsuits brought by 173 poisoned children against NL Industries and other lead pigment manufacturers. The four word change was slipped into a 600 page budget bill with a “Motion 999” in the dead of night with no public notice. The fingerprints couldn’t be clearer; the language was handed to legislators by NL’s high-dollar lobbyist in a memo.

But you wouldn’t hear any of this listening to Walker’s defenders. “Who gives a damn about lead?” shouts right-wing talk radio host Vicky McKenna into the mic shortly after the story broke. “The lead case is over. Lead paint has not been manufactured since 1978.”

McKenna fails to note that even today, thousands of kids a year are poisoned by lead paint in Wisconsin. And the problem disproportionately impacts poor and vulnerable kids living in run-down housing.

When confronted with allegations of potential pay to play Walker’s spokesman demurred and the Governor Walker leaned in:

“Maybe in the world of politics it is shocking that politicians actually do the things they say they’re going to do when they campaign, but I’ve talked about this for years. If I did something different than what I said I was gonna do, then voters would have a right to question. But I fulfilled the things I said I would do on this and many other cases.”

Ah yes. Remember those campaign commercials when Walker explained he was going to unconstitutionally rip away away the legal rights of Wisconsin kids in order to help some out-of-state billionaire? Those went over well.

But the spin doesn’t stop there.

The Guardian reporting indicates that Walker and top aides used the “independent” electioneering group, Wisconsin Club for Growth as a pot of secret money for the 15 recall elections sparked by Walker’s bill to eviscerate public sector unions in 2011. Wisconsin Club for Growth board member Eric O’Keefe is proud of his group’s $20 million dollar operation during the 2011-2012 recall period, which was under investigation by state prosecutors, and proud of the Texas billionaire ladling on the cash.

“The smearing of the late patriot, philanthropist businessman Harold Simmons is one of the more disgraceful aspects of the new ‘leaks,’” O’Keefe told Wisconsin Watchdog, a media site he helped create and whose own staff was involved in running dark money during the recall period.

And Watchdog has its own theory: “The left’s hatred for the late Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons is perhaps surpassed only by its animus for Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Both conservatives have been raked over the coals this week by the liberal corporation-hate machine in its faulty narrative of right-of-center corruption in Wisconsin politics.”

Apparently the $750,000 secret payment by St. Simmons, whose bigheaded lobbyist Eric Petersen demanded the law change as a “Major EP Priority” in the memo given to legislators, was a plot by the left to embarrass Walker and Simmons.

The $750,000 included personal and corporate checks. This is significant because since 1905 Wisconsin has banned corporate checks in campaigns and elections. “These potential violations of our corporate contribution ban and a pay for play scheme must be investigated. These issues were not raised or considered previously, and the public deserves a thorough investigation,” said Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) as she and 16 other legislators sent a letter to Madison District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne asking for an investigation.

O’Keefe and his cohorts in the right-wing echo chamber don’t just defend secret money in politics, they get quite poetic about it. Wrapping dark money in the flag and the Federalist Papers, they argue in endless articles, books, and speeches, that “anonymous speech” goes back to the founding fathers and that secrecy of donors is essential to protect First Amendment rights.

You can hear the Koch Brothers cheering now.

But the American public has it right. They know that secret money hides the dirty deals and the embarrassing givers, the payday loan operators, Wall Street crooks, and other bottom feeders that bankroll Wisconsin Club for Growth and its ilk. That is why overwhelming majorities of citizens in both political parties support transparency in campaigns and elections. 84 percent of Democrats and 72 percent and Republicans want to limit the amount of money individuals and organizations can spend on campaigns and elections.

And the public isn’t too fond of lead either. The disgraceful treatment of the children of Flint, Michigan caused a national uproar and state and federal investigations.

Wisconsin lead lovers defend it by saying it was “required” by the big bad government. But the truth is that over 100 years ago, paint manufacturers knew that lead was a “deadly cumulative toxin,” but they still lobbied to get governments to require its use in pipes, paint and other products. Since the 1920s, the industry has battled bans, restrictions, and even warnings labels as children suffered catastrophic poisonings and brain damage. Even today, old lead paint is still the most significant source of poisoning for children.

Now they say the “big government” made them do it, but the record is clear, and the result is that today in Wisconsin Walker’s own Department of Health Services (DHS), says that 21 percent of children under the age of 6 suffer from lead poisoning.

The scheme to strip Wisconsin children of their legal rights, failed. The retroactive cancellation of lawsuits on behalf of 173 children was struck down as unconstitutional by state and federal courts and Wisconsin kids are still in court with their attorney Peter Earle battling to hold the industry accountable for the harms it has caused.

But Walker’s DHS steadfastly refuses to adopt lead-poisoning standards consistent with federal standards even though they are required to do so, says Rep. Taylor who has been battling for the change.

Now we know why.

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Koch brothers’ network focusing on GOP Senate, not Trump



Julie Bykowicz

The Associated Press

FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. (AP) — To the Republicans in the red “Can’t Afford Katie” T-shirts, it’s as if Donald Trump doesn’t even exist.

These activists have been sprinting through Pennsylvania neighborhoods, talking to people about how bad Democrat Katie McGinty would be as a U.S. senator. Here to help save Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — and, more broadly, the party’s control of the Senate — are employees and volunteers for Americans for Prosperity, the best-known group financed by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

Similar scenes are playing out in North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.

In addition to having nail-biting Senate races this year, those four states are some of the most important battlegrounds in the presidential race. Yet the Koch activists interacting with millions of people who could be Trump’s most crucial voters aren’t supposed to utter a word about him or Hillary Clinton, a Democrat they’d been preparing for years to attack.

Four years after spending heavily in a futile effort to prevent President Barack Obama’s second term, the Kochs have pushed all of their resources down ballot. And their resources are ample: They’re on track to spend about $250 million on policy and politics in the two years leading to Election Day.

The brothers and many of their wealthy donor friends who fund the political and policy groups known as the Koch network have no interest in backing Trump. In a television interview in April, Charles Koch called Clinton and Trump “terrible role models” and trashed Trump’s “monstrous” proposal for a temporary ban of foreign Muslims entering the U.S.

In the months since, while many Republicans flipped back and forth as to whether to support their nominee, the Kochs never considered engaging in a Trump-Clinton match, even when some donors pressed them at a conference in August.

Instead, Koch groups have spent about $42 million on TV, radio and digital advertising in Senate races. As of this month, they have abandoned paid media altogether, preserving their money for what is a much more critical hole to plug: door-to-door advocacy.

Trump’s campaign has eschewed traditional political grunt work, leaving that to overworked national and state Republican parties, which must advocate for GOP candidates from Trump down to the local council members.

Outside groups led by a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continue to spend on ads — they’ll hit about $100 million by Election Day. But the Senate GOP campaigns could really use help on the ground, and that’s where the Koch network comes in. Americans for Prosperity and other groups employ more than 1,200 across 36 states.

To operate as effectively as possible, the Kochs’ data analytics shop, called i360, identified what it believes are 5 million Senate control-deciding voters in eight states. Those voters are either Republicans who seem unenthusiastic this year, perhaps turned off by the ugliness of presidential race, or people who hadn’t quite made up their minds about the Senate contest but lean Republican.

Roughly 600,000 of those key voters are in Pennsylvania.

During a recent weekend push in Bucks County, one of the most politically contested areas of the country, Americans for Prosperity temporarily imported employees from New Jersey and New Hampshire. There’s no Senate race in New Jersey, and the Kochs aren’t assisting Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., largely because she sided with the Obama administration’s moves to cut carbon emissions; that’s at odds with the Kochs’ push for fewer regulations.

At a hotel conference room one Thursday evening, Pennsylvania AFP field director Jeremy Baker prepped the out-of-state helpers for the no-nonsense attitude of many southeastern Pennsylvanians: “Well, they don’t want you to knock on their door at all, but when you do knock on the door, you want to be concise. You’re not going to have a 30-minute conversation with these folks. That being said, this is an area where we can have a lot of impact on this election.”

Part of the team had been out that afternoon, shoving their electronic tablets into Ziploc bags to protect them from a steady rainfall. They’re averaging about 11,000 door-knocks per week across the state. Very little stops them from going out every day.

“We’re asking people to vote against Katie McGinty,” Ed Saterstad, a 37-year-old part-time AFP employee, said to the man who’d answered the door, Bob Ryan.

Saterstad began a short survey portraying McGinty as liberal and bad for Pennsylvania, asserting, for example, that her energy policies would raise prices. Saterstad chronicled Ryan’s responses on his tablet.

Less than a minute later, Saterstad concluded, “After hearing all this about Katie McGinty, does that make you more likely or less likely to support her?” Ryan chuckled. “I wasn’t going to support her anyway, but, less.”

Ryan later told a reporter no one had yet knocked on his door to talk about the presidential race. It’s just as well. Asked for his thoughts on it, he sighed heavily.

“I just can’t believe it’s the best we can do,” said the Republican-turned-independent. “I think Trump’s a disaster, and I think Clinton is a pure political opportunist. I’m aghast that that’s the best we can do, let’s put it that way.”

He wasn’t sure if he’d cast a vote for president. But if he does vote, he said, it’ll be for Toomey.


Julie Bykowicz

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